"Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
" is a song by Marvin Gaye
, released as the third and final single from his 1971
landmark album, What's Going On
. Written by Gaye and James Nyx, the song depicted the ghettos
America as it discussed how the bleak situation would lead to someone wanting to holler and throw ones hands up. The song was recorded in a mellow funk
style with Gaye playing piano
. Several of the Funk Brothers
also contributed, including Eddie "Bongo" Brown, and bassist Bob Babbitt
The song helped Gaye make history by being one of the few artists to have three or more Top 10 songs off Billboard's Pop Singles chart peaking at #9 and one of the first to have three consecutive #1 hits on Billboard's R&B Singles chart where it stayed for two weeks. Although not certified by the RIAA at that time, all three releases from the What's Going On album gained Gold status by selling over a million copies in the United States.
The final minute of the song (and of the album) is a reprise to the theme of "What's Going On", the album's first song.
The song was first covered by Grover Washington, Jr.
. Also in 1972, on her album A Time In My Life
, Sarah Vaughan
covered "Inner City Blues" with David Axelrod
on the drums. Christian alternative band Adam Again
did a soulful rendition of the song on 1990's Homeboys. In 1994, Angela Winbush
covered the song and released it as a single
and abbreviated the name simply to "Inner City Blues". In 1998, the Mayfield Four
released a cover of "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" under its original title on their debut album Fallout
. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
also did a cover of this song on their album Buck Jump
It was also covered by the hard-rock band Sevendust in 2003, and can be found on the DVD included with some versions of their album Seasons, and then was included on their compilation album Best of (Chapter One 1997-2004) which was released in late 2005. In 2004, John Mayer performed the song live and later released on his compilation live album As/Is. The version includes a turntable solo by New York jazz turntable player DJ Logic.
In 1997 the Grover Washington Jr. version was re-released on the compilation Funky Jazz Classics & Original Breaks from the Tough Side, the first of the Pulp Fusion series. In 2007 the Sarah Vaughan cover was also re-released on the compilation Bustin' Loose, the tenth of the Pulp Fusion series.
The original version of the song also was used in the soundtrack of the 2007 film Zodiac, directed by David Fincher.